Leviathan (1989) (film review).

Attempting to acquire a copy of the 1987 film ‘Leviathan’ has proven challenging. The usual path via the extensive river-named website ended with the notification that it wouldn’t be playable in the UK, leading me to resort to an auction website. Although this particular copy is legitimate and second-hand—which likely means I missed out on the booklet—its English/French/Korean language options suggest the intended market.

The film’s credits reveal considerable talent beyond the cast; David Peoples, known for his work on ‘Blade Runner’, contributed as a co-writer here, while the special effects were crafted by Stan Winston, setting high expectations. However, there’s a noticeable similarity to ‘Alien’ and ‘The Abyss’, the latter of which was released the same year, suggesting an attempt to capitalize on the anticipated success of ‘The Abyss’—a common tactic in Hollywood.

The plot centers around a deep-sea mining rig searching for precious metals, which stumbles upon a sunken sealab. The polyglot Doc Thompson, portrayed by Richard Crenna, manages to translate its Russian name: Leviathan. The crew, led by geologist Steven Beck (Peter Weller), unknowingly retrieves some property from the sealab, along with a deadly contagion. Buzz ‘Sixpack’ Parrish (Daniel Stern), whose nickname humorously refers to his drinking habits rather than his physique, becomes the first to be infected. From this point, revealing more would spoil the unfolding horror as creatures emerge, attacking and taking control.

For admirers of Stan Winston’s work, this film is a must-have. The box cover is laden with accolades for his contributions, and understandably so; facing these monsters in an enclosed space, let alone at the ocean’s depths, would be a nightmare. Although the storyline borrows elements from other films, it remains engaging. The film’s absence from television broadcasts might be due to a controversial scene where Beck confronts his superior, Ms. Martin (Meg Foster), upon returning to the surface, blaming her for not attempting a rescue. This action, while possibly justified, paints a complex picture of right and wrong.

GF Willmetts

January 2024

(pub: 1 DVD 98 minute film. Price: varies. ASIN: 8-809102-337098)

cast: Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays, Ernie Hudson, Daniel Stern, Meg Foster and others


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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